I recently had the chance to chat with Allen Moff of the Record-Courier (give him a follow @AllenMoff_RC) to get a little more insight on where Kent State is heading into Thursday night’s opener. Allen is one of the beat writers who covers Kent State.
I asked Allen how Kent State is adjusting to having a new coaching staff this season. He stated that new head coach Paul Haynes and Darrell Hazell are clearly different people. Haynes has brought in a much more physical approach to training camp, but other than that has tried not to change things too much off the Golden Flashes’ record breaking season in 2012. Haynes kept the same Offensive Coordinator in place, and the Defensive Coordinator was on the staff last year as defensive line coach.
Personally, I was a bit surprised to see redshirt-freshman quarterback Colin Reardon named starter over senior David Fisher, but Allen stated he was “not too surprised.” He described Reardon as a good athlete who can run, but also has a good arm. Moff went further stating Reardon is very solid in every area and has proven to be a leader both in and out of the huddle. Reardon is not very big as he is listed at 6’1″ and 202 pounds. Helping Reardon out should be the experienced group of receivers which Moff states are the “most experienced (group of receivers) Kent has had in some time.”
After losing 3 starters at offensive line, 1 of which was drafted in the 3rd round and will be starting for the New York Jets, Kent State is noticably worried about their depth at the position. Moff stated this is definitely the biggest question mark on the team going into the season. The coaches hope their offensive line will open up enough holes to let their explosive running backs break into the open field where they are game changers.
I also asked Allen how running back Dri Archer is handling all of the accolades he has been getting this offseason including the Heisman campaign. He stated that Archer “hasn’t changed a bit” and he has worked harder this offseason than he ever has before. Archer will be Kent State’s main punt returner where his ability to cleanly catch the punt was a bit of a question mark last year.
Coming off the team’s impressive 11-2 season in 2012, one of head coach Paul Hayes’ biggest challenge is teaching his team how to handle their success from a year ago. Moff said the players are saying all the right words about not living off last year at all, and are even talking about not getting any respect in the preseason prognostications.
Thanks again to Allen Moff taking the time to give us his take on Kent State as they prepare to open the season against the Flames on Thursday night.